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For many, Christmas is a time when the usual diet, health, and fitness routines are suspended and a little overindulgence is excused. For those living with diabetes, however, navigating the festive season needs to be done with more care and consideration. Blood sugar levels are just as important over Christmas as they are for the rest of the year. If a loved one is living with diabetes, you may be wondering how you can support them throughout the holidays. Here is some compiled advice from some others living with diabetes on how you can support them.
Be kind and supportive
Christmas is time to be with friends and family and to laugh and have fun together. Be supportive of each other rather than nagging and reminding someone when or what they should be eating. Trust that they know what they are doing in terms of managing their diabetes and will ask for help if they need it.
Know what is in dishes that you are cooking
Some people might ask what ingredients are used in a dish. This will help to estimate the amount of carbohydrates that are in it and calculate the amount of insulin needed. Knowing certain ingredients that are used in your prepared dishes will help someone living with diabetes make healthy choices.
Get the family doing some exercise
Although Christmas is a time usually enjoyed surrounding food, balancing it with some physical activity will do wonders for everyone. Going for a morning/afternoon walk, or playing some games in the backyard can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Let anyone living with diabetes enjoy Christmas like everyone else. There is no need to judge them on what they choose to eat. It is a time to share and celebrate with the ones you love.
Buddying up for eating and exercising
Having a buddy makes it a lot easier to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This can be as simple as including a salad with every meal, gymming or going on walks together and motivating each other to stay healthy. This support helps to keep everyone stress-free and healthier.
Make sure appropriate treats are available
If someone living with diabetes is coming to Christmas, make sure there are appropriate food choices, not only for the main meal but treats as well. Providing choices for meals and snacks that fit with dietary needs and preferences will go a long way. It is helpful to ask in advance what they like to ensure there will be plenty for them to eat and for them to not feel left out.
Don't treat them differently
Communicating your support to a loved one can be helpful. However, overly observing them can make them feel like they are the odd one out. Let them enjoy their festive season like anyone else.
Diabetes is individual
Each person has different needs and personalised management plans. It could help to simply let them know that you're happy to help them out at any point if they need, and trust that they know what's best for them.
Just have fun and let them eat cake!
At the end of the day, diabetes is simply an extension of the person. Celebrate and have fun, make memories and enjoy the seasonal foods. There's a lot of flexibility in how individual people manage their diabetes so the general theme is to just support each other where you can.
Friends and family can help a loved one living with diabetes by letting them live their life to the maximum capability. They do not need to restrict themselves in sharing the joy with those around them. Offer your support, courage and love and check in with them throughout the period to make sure they are okay. Check out our Facebook Support Port a place to share your journey and listen to others going through a similar situation to you.
Remember to always seek advice from your medical practitioner before changing anything about your diabetes management. The above information is NOT medical advice.